CREVE COEUR, MO – Richard Saunders, who hails from Creve Coeur has been sentenced to 72 months in prison for his Ponzi scheme. Saunders tried to evade the consequences of his actions by running away to Thailand but was brought back. Ironically, Saunders was an IRS employee.
He has entered guilty pleas to his role in the Ponzi- style scheme which saw him involved in wire fraud and tax evasion. He will also serve a concurrent 60 month sentence for his actions of tax evasion. The sentences will be served in federal prison, according to the statement released by the US Attorney’s office.
Saunders has pled guilty to one felony count of wire fraud and one felony count of tax evasion. Each of these crimes, incidentally, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and 5 years respectively in prison along with fines up to $250,000 each as well.
Saunders managed to carry out his fraud through several companies registered under his name. One of the companies he used this way was Advisors Capital Holdings Inc. Saunders had given himself the position of Chairman of Advisors Capital Holdings. Advisors Capital Holdings Inc had an office at 1001, Craig Road in unincorporated St. Louis County.
He has managed to defraud investors of millions of dollars. Saunders has been ordered to repay his victims and the IRS. He owes the IRS around $446,000 and to his victims, he has been ordered to pay back upwards of $6 million. This fraud occurred between the years 2002 and 2008 before he left for Thailand. It is also believed that Saunders has managed to transfer some of his assets to Thailand.
Saunders managed to dupe his investors when he told them that they would get guaranteed returns on their investments in off- shore annuities. Instead of being invested in this manner, the money went to fund Saunders’s lifestyle. 2008 saw him moving to Thailand leaving his investors high and dry. He was deported in 2011 and brought to trial. There was a 13-count indictment filed against Saunders primarily for promising investors who gave him their money for being invested in low risk offshore annuities.